GIEWS > Data & Tools > Earth Observation
GIEWS - Global Information and Early Warning System

Country Briefs


Reference Date: 09-December-2020


  1. Cereal production in 2020 forecast at below‑average levels

  2. Prices of staple food higher than year before

  3. Nearly 5 million people estimated severely food insecure in second semester of 2020

Cereal production in 2020 forecast at below‑average levels

In the uni‑modal rainfall northern areas, harvesting of the 2020 millet and sorghum crops was completed in November and the output is estimated at below‑average levels. This is mostly due to persisting civil insecurity, which continues to affect the livelihoods and agricultural practices, and excessive cumulative precipitation amounts between August and October 2020 which triggered floods and damaged standing crops.

In central and southern areas, the 2020 secondary season maize crops, planted in October, will be harvested in January 2021 and, based on recent remote sensing imagery, crop conditions are overall favourable (see ASI map). In Northwest and Southwest regions, a reduced crop production is expected for the fourth consecutive year due to insecurity and displacements that continue affecting agricultural activities and limit farmers’ access to fields.

The 2020 total cereal production is forecast slightly below the average of the last five years as a result of the impacts of conflicts, floods and restrictive measures related to the COVID‑19 pandemic which hampered farmers’ access to crop growing areas and agricultural inputs across the country.

Prices of staple food higher than year before

In urban areas, prices of staple food in the second semester of 2020 have been higher than the previous year due to low market supplies amid a slowdown in domestic trade. In addition, the ongoing conflicts and the closure of borders to contain the spread of the COVID‑19 virus disrupted international trade flows, causing a drop in imports of products such as rice and vegetable oil, resulting in increases of domestic prices. Prices of locally produced food, such as maize and sorghum, also increased. Prices of maize increased between May and October 2020, reaching levels well above the seasonal values in most urban centres mainly due to strong consumer demand. Prices of sorghum increased between May and August, and despite declining in the following two months, in October, prices were still well above their levels a year earlier, amid a reduced domestic output obtained in 2020.

Nearly 5 million people estimated severely food insecure in second semester of 2020

According to an analysis conducted by FAO, WFP and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, about 4.9 million people were estimated to be in severe acute food insecurity in the second semester of 2020, well above the previous year’s level as a result of the restrictive measures to contain the COVID‑19 pandemic. These slowed down trade flows and triggered price increases, thus limiting access to food for the most vulnerable households.

About 1.5 million food insecure people are located in Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions, where fighting is still ongoing between anti-Government and pro-independence armed groups. The security situation remains precarious also in Far North Region, where incursions of Boko Haram significantly increased in 2020 compared to 2019 and triggered massive population displacements. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), about 322 000 people were estimated to be internally displaced in Far North Region in October 2020, almost 20 percent more than a year earlier.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.